Work has begun on developing a three-ton chiller powered by engine exhaust heat for the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research Development and Engineering Center in Fort Monmouth, N.J.

Over 18 months, Energy Concepts Co. LLC, Annapolis, Md., will engineer the chiller that must operate in 122°F (50°C) desert climates with dry cooling. It also must be lightweight, compact and efficient. By powering electronics and comfort cooling from exhaust heat instead of engine power, the Army's forward-operating bases can function with smaller generators and reduced fuel supply.

The chiller will use advanced heat- and mass-transfer components and controls in order to meet performance, weight and cost targets, say the developers.

Energy Concepts has teamed with the University of Maryland’s Smart and Small Thermal Systems Lab in College Park, Md., to develop microgroove heat exchangers for the chiller application. Additional component and flow-sheet enhancements will be incorporated from Energy Concept's industrial and commercial product lines, including compact shell-and-coil heat exchangers, a non-adiabatic distillation column, and a float valve that can satisfy the extreme range of operating conditions.

A component test stand has been assembled, and testing is underway at Energy Concept's Annapolis plant. The company is seeking a commercialization partner to help market the product. Initial target markets are in the military and transportation sectors, including refrigerated transport and bus air-conditioning. The ideal commercialization partner is a military supplier with distribution and service channels seeking to expand its product offerings, the company says.

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